Hope is like a path in the countryside. [At first], there is nothing — but as people walk this way again and again, a path appears.— Lu Xum
My thoughts for January are on the future and how our industry is changing. However, as I write this in early December 2021, the future still seems a bit fuzzy. Business is booming in some areas, like Florida, while in others, like the Northeast, jobs have slowed down. Supply chain failures continue to hamper manufacturing. Inflation has some buyers on the fence. A new COVID-19 variant has emerged and, as we approach the end of a two-year run, life has not returned to normal. But we are learning to operate in a post-pandemic world.
We went into 2021 with great hope and enthusiasm. While it was certainly better than 2020, it wasn’t as stellar as we had hoped. So, as we approach 2022, we face some uncertainty. Like the Chinese quote above, it seems we must wander this way and that until a new path becomes clear. Some things in the elevator industry are already changing:
- Our industry is in motion, both consolidating and contracting. Large companies are still buying small ones, but small and mid-size companies are also banding together to grow, cover more territory and share knowledge.
- Part of the motion in the industry, private equity firms are still a question mark. Such firms discovered the elevator industry several years ago. Now, they have discovered the accessibility industry.
- The environmental landscape is changing. In the future, buildings will be greener and more flexible. The elevators that serve them will have to adapt.
- Trade education has never been more important. Our population is aging, and the technology of our industry can be lost if we fail to focus on training and innovation.
- New technology (remote monitoring and data collection, to name a few) along with artificial Intelligence (AI) may make us safer and faster.
We will explore all these things and more in the months to come. Meanwhile, our January issue always highlights the most interesting and challenging projects completed in the past year. Entries came to us from all over the world — the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In a very close competition, winners overcame challenges and achieved milestones. It is wonderful when companies in our industry can brag about their accomplishments. We are very excited to publish their stories in ELEVATOR WORLD’s 24th Annual Project of the Year.
Our focus in this issue is on Residential Lifts and Accessibility:
- Residential Meets Technology by Undine Stricker-Berghoff. “Future Living in Berlin” in Germany is a residential site that is fully accessible and multi-generational. All the buildings are smart and have Schindler’s PORT destination-dispatch system in elevators.
- Platform Lifts. AreaLift, a division of LiftingItalia, has redesigned its screw lift and offers a platform lift, EasyPlat.
- Safety, Accountability in Canada by Catharine Bothwell and Brandy Hancock. To encourage mechanic certification, the private-residence division of the Canadian Elevator Contractors Association worked with the National Association of Elevator Contractors to update and add Canadian codes and practices to the CAT™ program.
- Accessibility for “Showcase of Czechoslovakia” by Kaija Wilkinson. The Prague Metro, founded in 1974, is replacing Soviet-era escalators and adding elevators to make a station the 47th in the system to be barrier free.
This book contains so much more, including a great interview with Standard Elevator Systems President Jimmy He conducted by EW President T. Bruce MacKinnon.
New Year wishes to all as we search for the path forward!
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